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From Vequero to Cowboy

Posted by on Jan 18, 2019

What’s the difference between Vequero or Cowboy? Cattle handlers were called many names with various meanings through out the past 150 years, beginning with the great cattle drive era to present day. Today cowboy is the most familiar term, but in the old days it meant something entirely different. During the period of the great cattle drives, cowboy literally meant a “boy” who tended the herds. Just barely in their teens, they were hired from the towns and farms to spend the next three to six months on the trail driving the valuable beef to northern markets. Some were second sons from European families whose first born had inherited the family estates, coming over with big dreams of western adventure. Townspeople who lived at the end of the northward shipping points were not impressed when this rowdy, trail-worn bunch hit town although they were happy to sell them everything they desired. During the winter months, these young cowboys found odd jobs where they could. In the book WE POINTED THEM NORTH, “Teddy Blue” Abbott points out that all of the trail driving hands were Texans because that is where the cattle were and where they first learned their skills. Used in older literature, Cowman is the boss or the man who owns the ranch, and...

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Fall Work on a Texas Ranch

Posted by on Nov 2, 2018

Fall Weaning on a Texas Cattle Ranch. As the leaves turn to Fall colors and the early morning air takes on a crispness, ranch owners are busy gathering herds for Fall weaning and shipping to market. This is the time of year when supply meets demand. In 1867 Abilene, Kansas provided the first rail head markets, where the deals were made. Buyers for eastern meat packers in Kansas City, St, Louis, and Chicago depended on the men who suffered the long, dusty cattle drives north. Cattle buyer, Joseph C. McCoy, had an idea, “…to establish a market where at the southern drover and the northern buyer would meet.” He picked the small town of Abilene in Kansas, where the Texas longhorns would trail from the southern ranches. Rail cars carried beef over the Kansas Pacific to the Missouri River for transport to the Hannibul tracks, and then on to Chicago packing houses. What followed were multiple cow towns competing for Texas herds. Today we have it much easier. Cowboys drive the cattle to ranch headquarters, maybe half a days journey instead of three months. The babies are separated from the herd and fence-lined weaned. Only a seven-strand barbed wire fence separates the pairs, as the calves are weaned on fresh hay and nutritious cake,...

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Arbuckle: The Original Cowboy Coffee

Posted by on Oct 26, 2018

“The Coffee that Won the West” When you walk into the doors of the event center for the Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock, the first thing you notice is the smell of coffee. Hot water streaming through fresh ground coffee beans actually in the booth to your right. It takes a strong continence to walk past that smell without stopping. I gave in to the assault on my nose and several minutes later walked away with a new coffee mug...

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Owen Wister & Western Fiction

Posted by on Sep 28, 2018

Best known as the creator of western fiction, Own Wister was a “Pennsylvanian who sat down in South Carolina, and wrote a book about a Virginian who lived in Wyoming.” I happened upon a copy of his book, THE VIRGINIAN, in a used book store. The opening scene is fantastic, as we meet a rough, sometimes rude, man-of-few-words from Virginia. A “slim young giant” who earns a reputation as an accomplished horseman. The edgy descriptions and literary prose are...

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